Saying "No" to Get to Your "Yes" with Dr. James Kelley - Lead to Succeed 20

In this episode, Naphtali interviews Dr. James Kelley, host of the Executives after-hours podcast and author of the book, Crucible’s Gift: 5 Lessons from Authentic Leaders Who Thrive in Adversity. James talks about leadership and shares that a teacher can be a true leader by generating interest in even the most mundane topics. We also discuss how the meaning of leadership changes according to personality type. Learn how drawing boundaries and saying “No” can help your career progression. Tune in to gain insights that will help you become a better leader.

Podcast highlights:

  • 01:21 – Naphtali introduces Dr. James Kelley
  • 03:20 – Kelley believes in stamping out ignorance by shocking the system; he is a big proponent of thinking from a different perspective
  • 05:55 – Kelley gives his take on leadership
    • 06:17 – In his most recent book, Kelley attempts to analyze his failures – tries to determine how leaders are able to succeed where he is not
    • 07:25 – Only teachers who are true leaders are able to generate interest and enjoyment in even the most mundane of topics
  • 07:44 – Naphtali shares that he has reflected on his successes as well as challenges in his new book
  • 09:58 – Every leader has its own strength – pick what resonates with you and your audience the best
    • 11:25 – While you need to be true to who you are, you need a certain awareness of what is expected of you to be truly emphatic
  • 15:12 – Discussing the concept of “Leading Up” – you do not need a leadership title attached to your name to exhibit leadership skills
  • 16:36 – Inculcate behavioral integrity, by learning to taking responsibility
  • 17:58 – Be HONEST and do not succumb to be just another yes man in your organization
  • 20:52 – Learn to draw boundaries by saying NO when required
  • 24:30 – James talks about his decision to take up a job at the United Arab Emirates University – he shares how he and his family are thriving in a diverse society
  • 29:47 – James shares the premise behind his book, Crucible’s Gift: 5 Lessons from Authentic Leaders Who Thrive in Adversity
  • 30:39 – Every person has their own crucible; You can Victimize it or be a true leaders and OWN it

Rapid Fire:

  • 32:56 – Favorite Arabic Cuisine Paratha Bread
  • 33:20 – Introvert or Extrovert? Both!
  • 33:39 – What do you miss most about not living in the States? Simplicity
  • 33:57 – Something that you currently collected or one time collected, a hobby Toronto Blue Jays memorabilia

Connect with James:


Interesting fact:

In 1961, Fidel Castro closed Cuban schools for a whole year and formed teachers into a “literacy army” with the goal to eradicate illiteracy. By the end of the year, 707,212 previously illiterate people had learned how to read.

Leadership quote:

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves.
— Ray Kroc

Resources mentioned:

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